Vikings Rookie Jaylen Twyman’s Future in Question After Team Cuts Him

Jaylen Twyman

Getty Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman was waived on July 26, 2021.

Minnesota Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman, shot four times in a random shooting last month, was hopeful to play this season.

However, he may have to wait to grace the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota waived Twyman on Monday to make room on the 90-man roster for incoming veteran wide receiver Dede Westbrook. The Vikings intend on picking up Twyman and placing him on the non-football injury list (NFI) if he clears waivers, per a team press release.

If Twyman is placed on the list, there’s a possibility he won’t practice or play for the entirety of his rookie season. It would be the second consecutive year the 21-year-old hasn’t played football after opting out of the 2020 season at Pittsburgh amid the pandemic.

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 Twyman Reports His Wounds Are Not Serious

Twyman, a sixth-round pick out of Pittsburgh, was visiting his aunt in his hometown of Washington D.C. at the time of the random shooting that injured him and three others.

He told FOX 5 he received bandages and gauze for an injury he described as a flesh wound, adding that the incident won’t impact his football career. He was able to walk afterward.

His agent, Greg Rosenhaus, has maintained that Twyman would report to training camp and was hopeful he would play this season, but Minnesota’s decision to place him on the NFI list has dampened those hopes.

Under NFL guidelines, players on the NFI list are ineligible to practice with the team for the first six weeks and cannot play until after eight games. The Vikings have 21 days after the six-week window to activate Twyman to the 53-man roster or he must remain on the list for the remainder of the season.

Twyman would be limited to rehabilitative exercises and team meetings while on the NFI list.

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Future Prospects

While Twyman’s release from the 90-man roster is unfortunate, he was an unlikely candidate to see significant playing time this season.

Minnesota bolstered its defensive interior this offseason by signing veteran defensive tackles Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson. Michael Pierce, the replacement for Linval Joseph, also returns to the roster after opting out of the 2020 season.

Armon Watts, a 2019 sixth-round pick, and 2020 fourth-rounder James Lynch likely slotted ahead of Twyman on the depth chart to start training camp — leaving little room for Twyman to make an immediate impact.

However, the Vikings do see Twyman as a developmental project.

Tallying 41 tackles, 10.5 sacks in 13 games as a sophomore at Pittsburgh, Twyman became the first interior defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks since Aaron Donald in 2013. An undersized prospect at 6-foot-2, 301 pounds, Twyman tested in the bottom 37th percentile in weight and 18th percentile in height of his draft class, per Mockdraftable.

Twyman was well-liked by defensive line coach Andre Patterson for his explosiveness. He’ll need to show that explosiveness next offseason if he hopes to become an impact player.

“To get 10.5 sacks as an inside guy is really difficult to do. He has a good feel for how to rush the passer. He’s got good quickness and suddenness. The thing that hurt him is that he got some bad advice that he needed to get bigger to show the NFL that he wasn’t an undersized guy,” Patterson said of Twyman during rookie minicamps. “When you all of the sudden go from 284 to 318 pounds, you take your quickness away from you. So that’s why he didn’t have a great Pro Day. So we’ve got to get him back to that 280-area so he has his quickness and suddenness and uses all of the skills that he has.”

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